Smart Pension and Lewis master trust authorised

James Phillips reports...

Smart Pension and The Lewis Workplace Pension Trust have been authorised by The Pensions Regulator (TPR), taking the total number of approved schemes to 22.

The watchdog announced the authorisation of the two master trusts today (3 September), with both having applied in March.

Smart Pension manages £421m of assets on behalf of nearly 500,000 members across 50,000 employers.

Co-founder and chief executive Andrew Evans said: “Reaching this important milestone has involved an enormous amount of effort, but if the industry is to continue to satisfy the highest standards, it’s all been worth it – and will continue to be.

“Authorisation is just the first step in raising the industry bar to ensure savers get the outcomes they deserve from fully-accredited providers they can trust.”

The master trust is now set to consolidate the £20m Corpad Master Trust and the £12.5m Corporate Pensions Trust, and two other schemes exiting the market. It said it also had a number of similar consolidation deals in the pipeline in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the £26m Lewis Workplace Pension Trust, owned by Lewis Investment, has around 9,500 members across roughly 110 employers.

Lewis Investment director and scheme trustee Lee van Hoyland said the master trust, which focuses on advice and servicing international companies with UK-based employees, would now focus on growth.

“We’ll be looking to certainly expand the operation but within the confines of those clients that we tend to favour,” he said. “It’s going to be the small, sort of 2,000-employee mark, because of the advice side of things.”

It has been just over 11 months since TPR’s authorisation regime kicked off, causing the market to shrink by more than half, with 44 schemes exiting the market, compared to 39 applying for authorisation, including one new scheme.

Another 17 schemes are awaiting a response from the regulator, including NEST, Aegon Master Trust, and Now Pensions.